WASHINGTON – The job market turned in another impressive performance in February — the third straight month in which employers added at least 200,000 jobs.
The gains were spread across industries. And the government said December and January, already two of the best months for jobs since the recession, were even stronger than first estimated.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3 percent. The main reason was that a half-million people started looking for work. (Only people without jobs who are looking for one are counted as unemployed.)
In the past two months, as the job market has strengthened, nearly 1 million people have started looking for work.
Here are some other numbers that illustrate the job market's gains:
142.1 million: The number of people who said they had a job in February. It was the highest total since January 2009.
137.9 million: The number of people who said they had a job in December 2009. That was the fewest since September 2003.
146.6 million: The number of people who said they had a job in November 2007, the pre-recession peak.
JOB GROWTH PICKS UP
1.45 million: The increase over the past three months in the number of people who said they had a job. It marks the sharpest three-month gain since 2000.
2.6 million: The increase over the past seven months in the number of people who said they had a job. It's the best seven-month stretch in a dozen years.
MORE JOBS STILL NEEDED
8.7 million: The number of jobs lost in 2008-2009.
3.5 million: The number of jobs that have been regained since February 2010, when job growth began.
8.3 percent: Unemployment rate in February, unchanged from the previous month.
9 percent: Unemployment rate one year earlier.
14.9 percent: A broader rate for February that includes not only the unemployed but also part-timers who want full-time work and "discouraged" people who've stopped looking.
15.9 percent: The same rate a year ago.
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE BY GROUP
6.3 percent: Asian.
7.3 percent: Whites.
10.7 percent: Hispanic.
14.1 percent: Blacks.
WHERE THE JOBS ARE:
82,000: Job gains in professional services, such as legal, accounting and temporary help, in February.
71,000: Job gains in education and health care.
41,000: Job gains in restaurants and bars.
31,000: Job gains in manufacturing.
6,000: Job gains in financial services.